DETROIT — Ropak Corp.'s Materials Handling Group has purchased two new structural foam presses as part of the company's quest to do more production work in-house.
Ropak, based in Fullerton, Calif., launched its Georgetown, Ky., plant in October 1994 to make collapsible, returnable containers, a product that had been outsourced to various suppliers, said William Hammons, production manager of the Georgetown plant.
Since then, the 140,000-square-foot plant has become the flagship of the company's materials-handling group. While Ropak makes a brand line of rigid plastic shipping containers, the plant specializes in pallet-sized, reusable containers molded from high density polyethylene.
``We've grown with the market for plastic pallets,'' national sales manager W. Russ Mathis said April 2 at the North American Material Handling Show and Forum in Detroit.
``Now, the plant operates seven days a week.''
To increase capacity, the plant recently invested more than $3 million to buy two new Springfield low-pressure structural foam presses from Johnson Controls Inc. The purchase includes a twin-screw machine with a clamping force of 750 tons and a 400-ton single-screw press, Hammons said. The new presses should be operating by April 15, Hammons said.
The plant also acquired supporting equipment including silos, chillers and towers. With the purchase, employment at the Georgetown plant has been boosted to 180, a 40-person increase.
Including the new machines, the plant operates seven low-pressure structural presses with clamping forces of 400-750 tons. The new 750-ton press is one of three of that size on site, Hammons said.
Ropak has been owned since 1995 by Linpac Mouldings Ltd., a maker of packaging products headquartered in Birmingham, England.
The company did not provide sales figures.